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Author Topic: Zoo Atlanta Panda Cam  (Read 177460 times)
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hermit
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« Reply #2280 on: February 07, 2018, 10:33:24 PM »

February 7, 2018
Today was a wet, soggy day in Atlanta. Giant pandas don’t mind a light drizzle, and if it becomes too annoying they’ll grab a piece of bamboo and drag it to one of the outdoor caves. But, given the preference, they prefer to stay inside in the dry dayrooms. We don’t mind this one bit, as we also get to stay dry and there is less mud tracked through the building from muddy paws and shoes. Idgie the red panda always has her habitat shelters (her air-conditioned area and her fancy new hut) available to her whenever she chooses. If the weather forecast calls for heavy rains and/or storms, we will give her additional access to her behind-the-scenes area. When there is really bad weather (tornado watches/warnings, hail, etc.) the giant pandas come completely into the interior dens (away from the glass windows in the dayrooms), and Idgie goes into her behind-the-scenes area. Sometimes she decides to hunker down and not leave, but that’s where yummy grapes come in to entice her to follow us. We’re always watching the weather stations and will preemptively secure the animals before anticipated bad weather hits. Safety comes first, and Zoo Atlanta has a wide variety of protocols in place to ensure that the animals and humans stay safe through all types of challenges Mother Nature decides to throw our way!
Jen W.
Keeper III, Mammals
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« Reply #2281 on: February 09, 2018, 10:21:50 PM »

February 9, 2018
I recently wrote about Ya Lun finding her preferred sleeping spot in the outdoor habitat, but Xi Lun hadn’t quite settled on her sleeping spot. However, just last week, Xi Lun finally decided that the bottom layer of the structure is comfortable enough for her morning nap. As you can see in the photo, she and Ya Lun look like they are sharing a bunk bed!
Heather R.
Senior Keeper, Carnivores


I'm unable to post the photo.  Sorry.  sigh2
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« Reply #2282 on: February 14, 2018, 01:56:52 AM »

February 12, 2018
The cubs have both exceeded the 90-pound mark. Ya Lun is still the heavier of the two at around 43 kilograms, with Xi Lun at around 42 kilograms. They are little bamboo-eating machines and they’ve begun coming inside with Lun Lun almost every time we need to freshen up Lun’s bamboo. Right now we have a species of bamboo called Sasa that the cubs are obsessed with. It is really long and skinny with just a few large leaves on top, which makes it the perfect bamboo for the cubs to work on their culming skills.
Shauna
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« Reply #2283 on: February 14, 2018, 10:17:02 PM »

February 14, 2018
Everyone knows that our resident male, Yang Yang, is a class-A clown and eternal cub-at-heart. While Lun Lun is more of a “businesswoman,” when the mood strikes she can get very playful. Her little shadows have been making sure that Mom doesn’t spend too much time eating or sleeping lately. We’ve noticed a pattern over the last week or so that while lunchtime means naptime for Lun Lun, it’s playtime for the girls. Like clockwork, Lun Lun schedules a morning siesta around Noon, and that’s about the same time Ya Lun usually wakes up and decides that she needs to burn a lot of energy … like now. If Mom’s asleep, that’s no problem! Ya Lun has developed the ability to pester her mom into abandoning any thought of naptime and rouses/forces her to play. Oddly enough, Ya Lun lets her sister continue her nap, but eventually the noises wakes Xi Lun and she joins in the fun right about the same time that Ya Lun decides to take a break. Translation: Lun Lun hasn’t been getting very many naps lately.
Jen W.
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« Reply #2284 on: February 19, 2018, 09:57:00 PM »

February 16, 2018
Yesterday, the giant pandas’ indoor dayrooms got a makeover: We spent all day re-mulching the floors. Re-mulching is labor-intensive and dirty. First, we have to remove all of the enrichment and move all of the logs to one side of the dayroom. Then, we dig out the old mulch, which is about 2 feet deep, from both dayrooms, which are around 1,500 square feet each. We dig the old mulch out by hand and remove it from the building in wheelbarrows. Finally, we bring in the new mulch by wheel barrow, dump it out in the dayrooms and spread it out. Overall, it took 13 people – keepers, our interns, horticulture staff and maintenance staff – six hours to complete both dayrooms. Of course, we still cared for the pandas as well throughout the process. Luckily, the rain held off, and the pandas were able to enjoy the day outside, so all of the work did not disturb them.
Heather R.
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« Reply #2285 on: February 19, 2018, 09:59:20 PM »

February 19, 2018
Over the past year and a half, Ya Lun and Xi Lun have passed numerous milestones in their lives, and we have been there for all of them. Some of these milestones include surviving the first tenuous few days of life after birth; growing their characteristic black-and-white coats at around 30 days; crawling at 3 months; receiving their names at 100 days; walking at 4 months; climbing at 5 months; experiencing the outside world at 7 months; eating leafeater biscuits and fruit at 11 months; and eating bamboo at 13 months. All of these have been very exciting to watch, and now that they are fast approaching 18 months old, Ya Lun and Xi Lun are ready to take that first step toward their next milestone: independence from Mom. Starting today, we will begin the process of weaning Ya Lun and Xi Lun from their mother Lun Lun. In the wild, giant pandas are usually weaned by their mothers between the ages of 17 and 20 months.

As we did with their older siblings, our giant panda care team will be using a “stepwise” process, originally developed and implemented by partners at San Diego Zoo Global, that has been used very successfully and effectively with all of Lun Lun’s previous cubs: Mei Lan, Xi Lan, Po and Mei Lun and Mei Huan. The roughly two-week process, which focuses on gradually increasing the time the cubs are apart from Lun Lun, will conclude the first week of March. Weaning is a very natural and necessary transition in the life of any young mammal, but especially for species that don’t have social lifestyles in the wild. Giant pandas, like other bear species, are naturally solitary animals, meaning that they live alone after they attain sub-adulthood, coming together with other giant pandas only during the breeding season.

Ya Lun and Xi Lun have both been eating bamboo as the main portion of their diet, along with leafeater biscuits and fruit, for several months now, and they no longer have a reliance on Lun Lun’s milk for sustenance. If you’ve been watching PandaCam, you’ve probably seen that Lun Lun has already begun this process naturally. In the wild, she would either simply walk away from them, or would potentially chase them away from her. Lun Lun has been spending more time alone, away from the cubs, than she has in previous months, signaling to us that she is ready.

Ya Lun and Xi Lun do have one distinction over their wild counterparts, however. They were born twins. When giant panda mothers have twins in the wild, it is extremely rare that both cubs would survive. Here at Zoo Atlanta, we have given Lun Lun just enough help to enable her to successfully rear both cubs. Because Ya Lun and Xi Lun are twins, and have spent their entire lives together, they will remain together after the weaning process has concluded, just as their sisters Mei Lun and Mei Huan did. Weaning has not been a traumatic experience for any of Lun Lun’s previous cubs, but the fact that they are littermates makes this an even easier transition for the twins. Because they spend so much time together eating, sleeping, and playing, they are not quite as dependent on their mother for stimulation. Single cubs use their mother as a playmate as well as a teacher, but as littermates, Ya Lun and Xi Lun have each other for play. Living independently from Lun Lun will enable Ya Lun and Xi Lun to continue to develop into normal, healthy, adult giant pandas, but in order to get to that point, they must take this important first step.

We’ll be continuing to update everyone on the process here on the blogs and on our social networks. If you’d like to learn more, be sure to tune in for a Facebook Live event with us this Thursday, February 22, at 9 a.m. EST. We hope to see you there! Thanks for following the giant pandas.
Kenn H.
Assistant Curator of Mammals
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